The Biden administration has opened the application process for Americans seeking student debt relief in a beta period starting Friday night, officials told CNN, allowing applicants to begin signing up before the website is formally unveiled later this month .
In August, President Joe Biden announced his decision to cancel up to $10,000 in student loan debt for people making less than $125,000 a year or as much as $20,000 for eligible borrowers who were also Pell Grant recipients.
“Tonight, the Department of Education will begin beta testing the student debt relief website. During the beta testing period, borrowers will be able to submit applications for the Biden-Harris Administration’s student debt relief program,” a Department of Education spokesperson told CNN exclusively on Friday.
The website is available at: https://studentaid.gov/debt-relief/application.
Anyone who applies for debt relief during the beta period will receive a confirmation email, but their application will not be processed until the site formally launches, expected on a date to be announced before the end of October. Once treatment begins, most qualified borrowers are expected to receive debt relief within weeks.
The spokesman continued: “These borrowers will not need to reapply if they submit their application during the beta test, but no applications will be processed until the site is officially launched later this month. This test period will enable the department to monitor the site’s performance through real-world use, testing the site prior to the official application launch, refining processes and uncovering any bugs before official launch.”
The Department of Education’s technical team will look at the site’s performance in real time, and the beta version of the site will have planned pauses as the team assesses what adjustments and tweaks are needed, an administration official told CNN in a phone interview, and another official adds. that “high increases in demand” are expected. Anyone attempting to submit their application during a beta break will be prompted to return.
While no changes will be made to the application itself, there may be changes to the site’s software as the technical team tracks how it works in beta mode.
The application form will contain information about the debt restructuring, who is entitled to it and how it works. It will ask applicants for information including their full name, social security number, date of birth, phone number and an email address.
Prospective applicants who previously signed up for updates on the student debt settlement process will receive an email notifying them of the beta site, and once the site formally launches, the White House will begin leveraging its social channels to spread the word. There are also plans to brief digital creators and influencers in the coming weeks, officials said.